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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3425/1040-plunder/

1040 Plunder

April 5, 2005 by

Lee Wishing filled out his tax forms this year and discovered something unexpected. Thanks to four little tax credits between the ages of 5 and 9, he not only has zero tax liability. He will be receiving a check from the federal government–meaning other tax payers–for $646. That’s $646 of others people’s money. Citing Bastiat, Wishing sees this as nothing short of plunder, made possible by a new complications in the new tax. [Full Article]

{ 17 comments }

David Heinrich April 5, 2005 at 8:21 am

I disagree with your analysis in 1040 Plunder. Unless you haven’t paid more than $646 in taxes in your lifetime (actually I can argue less, because of inflation), you aren’t stealing anything, but merely getting back some of what was stolen from you.

Brad Dexter April 5, 2005 at 8:24 am

Before you cripple yourself with guilt, are you net ahead or net behind in taxes overall? Social Security tax, State tax, local tax, gas tax, sin taxes? The taxes embedded in the products you buy? The quasi-taxation in regulation? I’d guess not.

Granted these are all different pools (for the present anyway) and the people knocked over the head to get your ‘refund’ may not be the same people knocking you over the head for your money, but you didn’t make the loosely interconnected ponzi’s so difficult to navigate.

I wouldn’t sweat getting $650 of your own money back. It’s just a loan anyway.

Cornelius van Vorst April 5, 2005 at 9:45 am

The $646 is not money being returned to Mr. Wishing by the state; such would require the state be $646 poorer. Since revenues previously obtained from Mr. Wishing have been spent, the $646 is being confiscated from others, either directly by taxation or indirectly by the printing press.

David Heinrich April 5, 2005 at 12:58 pm

Dear Mr. Vorst,

I’d argue that’s not Mr. Wishing’s problem. If someone steals $100 from me, I have the right to make them pay me back. It isn’t my obligation to further burden myself by monitoring how they obtain the money to pay me back.

What about tax-returns at the end of the year, where you overpaid in taxes, and get some of it back? Arguably, that money’s already been spent too.

Sincerely,
David Heinrich

Cornelius van Vorst April 5, 2005 at 1:35 pm

Mr. Heinrich

I agree you have the right to seek restitution, but your position implies that restitution does not require a burden on the theif, that property knowingly coerced from any innocent party will suffice.

Additionally, if, as you assert, the transfer of known stolen property from the theif to you is legitimate, then it is required that you view the theif’s stolen goods as legitimately owned. This in fact legitimizes theft as a means of transferring property rights, and as such the original theft from you must be viewed as legitimate, and you would not be in a position to demand restitution for anything.

Also, for Dutch surnames standing alone, the “van” is included and capitalized (e.g., Mr. Van Vorst).

-Cornelius

David Heinrich April 5, 2005 at 1:53 pm

Dear Mr. Van Vorst,

I’m not saying that restitution doesn’t imply a burden on the thief. What I am saying is that the person demanding restitution has no obligation to expend his resources figuring out how the thief provided restitution.

We face the reality that the State is a mass criminal organization, which steal and thieves. It also destroys much of the wealth it steals, such that (at any given time) the State will only have a small fraction of the wealth that it has stolen.

Given that, the question then becomes “how to make restitution to victims”. What method is justified? I argue that the right to restitution, in-so-far as the criminal can restitute, is a right that can be homesteaded to the extent that various victims have claim. The priority of claims is determined by the order of homesteading of those claims.

If X steals $1000 from me and 10 other people, for a total of $10,000 stolen, then spends $9,000 of it, obviously, that is only enough to pay back one of us (or each in proportion). I argue that if I’m the first to homestead restitution/retribution against this criminal, I can extract everything he owes me. You say I’m taking stolen property, but how so? It’s my own money. Likewise, for anyone else who homesteads a claim against him. The fact that there isn’t enough money left to pay the 9 other people, after I homestead my claim, is unfortunate, and will obviously require a period of indentured servitude for this crook.

Sincerely,
David J. Heinrich

PS: Thank you for the fyi on Dutch surnames.

Pellinore April 5, 2005 at 2:19 pm

Mr. Wishing’s kids should hang out with Gil Guillory’s daughter.

Nice to read about some children who it doesn’t bother me to think that they are the future.

P

Pete Canning April 5, 2005 at 2:23 pm

I want to know how he managed to have so little reported income. As for the $646 take it, giving it back to the state certainly doesn’t do any good.

David Heinrich April 5, 2005 at 2:29 pm

Dear Pete,

I want to know how he managed to have so little reported income.

Either he had very little, or he contributed alot of income to various retirement plans, such as 401(k)s or SEP/SIMPLE IRAs. If you’re self-employed, you can contribute an enormous amount of your income to these plans.

billwald April 5, 2005 at 2:38 pm

Half the U.S. economy is under the table and that is why nothing will change. Only the honest people are hurt and there not enough of them to swing an election – not even if they all moved to Wyoming.

Cornelius van Vorst April 5, 2005 at 2:43 pm

It is agreed that the restituted has no obligation to verify the source of the property.

It is agreed that those who are wronged have a claim on a portion of the theif’s legitimately owned property; a homestead, as you put it.

Unfortunately, neither of these are at issue in the article. We do know from where the money comes, and it is certainly not a portion of the state’s legitimately owned property (if such a thing exists). To accept the money under these conditions is to condone theft, and thus, if one wishes to be consistent, restitution is moot.

So, how can restitution occur when the theif is the state? Simple: cease all taxation, start selling off the real assets of the government, and let the homesteading begin. Until then, Paul is still being robbed so the state can give “restitution” to Peter.

-Cornelius

Mark D. Fulwiler April 5, 2005 at 3:10 pm

One comment I would make is that ~most~ people explicitly or implicitly consent to taxes. If someone votes for Bush and supports the income tax, why should I feel guilty taking some of their tax money?

Andy D April 5, 2005 at 3:19 pm

If someone robs me at gun point, can I do the same to get my money back? If someone votes for Clinton, and supports the income tax, why should I feel guilty robbing them at gun point?

sidereal April 5, 2005 at 3:59 pm

“I can’t do anything about the $646 now”

Sure you can. Donate it to a libertarian cause, which will incrementally increase the chance that everyone else can get their money back. It might even be tax deductible.

Mark D. Fulwiler April 5, 2005 at 5:00 pm

Yes, you are morally entitled to get your money back by gunpoint, if necessary, from a robber. It may not always be legal or practical, however. I wouldn’t rob a Clinton/Bush/Kerry voter, but since they have de facto consented to the state taking their money and to the welfare state, I don’t feel guilty dipping into the government’s pot of money from Clinton/Bush/Kerry voters. Would you rather the government spend it in Iraq?

Sara Mc April 5, 2005 at 8:43 pm

Caring for FIVE little yippers, I rec’d a whopping $3,000 CREDIT (spouse is teacher). I don’t care WHERE the money came from, I needed it immediately to help pay my STUNNINGLY high Texas property tax bill ($4,500 for me, some of my friends pay $14,000+).
TX property taxes are very regressive; now that’d make an interesting article! (ie, bigger families need more room, and since taxes are largely based on the homes’ size/value, bigger families like mine have an add’l tax burden).

Bob from Seattle April 7, 2005 at 3:15 pm

On a radio station I was listening to while on the way to work this morning the were talking about a 12 year old kid that had been making $1 dollar bills on his computer and using them. They were arguing about what his punishment should be and someone called in and said that they should give him a job with the federal government.

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